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  • Unearthing History: 2024 Virtual Lecture Series

    Unearthing History: The discovery of a 12,500 year old Paleo-Indian site along the Farmington River in Avon. Join us for a virtual series of lectures, sponsored by a grant from the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook Wild and Scenic Committee that will cover the many aspects of archaeology, with a focus on the Brian D. Jones Paleo-Indian discovery in Avon, Connecticut. All events begin at 7:00pm EST on Zoom.

    This 2024 VIRTUAL HISTORY SERIES is sponsored by Avon Historical Society, Avon Free Public Library and Avon Senior Center, in partnership with the Avon Land Trust, Farmington River Watershed Association, and the Institute of American Indian Studies in Washington, CT.

    Times are EST: Eastern Standard Time.  Events are free to attend. Webinars will be recorded; links appear at the end of this post and are available on the Avon Library’s YouTube Channel.

    View the full 2024 series flyer here

    March 7  – The History of Archaeology in CT with Emphasis on Native Americans, presented by Nicholas Bellantoni, serves as the emeritus state archaeologist with the UCONN State Museum of Natural History and is adjunct associate research professor in the Department of Anthropology. He will take the audience through the history of archaeology in CT bringing it up to present day with new discoveries and the process during the work at the BDJ Site.   Register here

    April 11  Bioarchaeology in North America: Ethics, Issues and Where the Field Stands in 2024, presented by Alex Garcia-Putnam, PhD, University of New Hampshire.  He will talk about the field, basics of bioarchaeology, the lack of skeletal remains found in the United States and some of the reasons for, and implications of, that lack of data.  Register here

    May 9  – Foraging in the Paleoindian Period: A Macrobotanical Analysis (tentative title), presented Katharine Reinhart, Project Archaeologist/Botanical Analyst, Archaeological and Historical Services, Inc, Storrs, CT. She will focus on the analysis of plant evidence from different sites to learn what they ate and where they found it.   Register here

    September 12 or 19 (TBD) –– Microscopic Evidence for the Manufacture and Use of Stone Artifacts, presented by G. Logan Miller, Assoc. Prof. Anthropology, Illinois State University.

    October 10 or 17 (TBD)Update on the Brian D. Jones site in Avon, CT since discovery in 2019 presented by the team at Archaeological and Historical Services, Storrs, CT.  October is Archaeology Month in Connecticut, so this presentation will be 90 minutes with time after for Q&A.  (NOTE:  This may be a hybrid event if the CT DOT and Archaeological and Historical Services wish to use this month as a formal public final presentation on the site.)

    Questions? Email Terri Wilson, President Avon Historical Society, president@avonhistoricalsociety.org

  • Save America’s Treasures Spotlight: Care to have lunch in a porringer?

    As we work on our Save America’s Treasures Project, we’ll showcase items we’ve scanned, carefully repackaged with archival products, or discovered within the collection here.

    January 2024:  Care to have lunch in a porringer?

    If you lived in Colonial New England, your main meal may be served in a porringer, a round bowl made of pewter or silver, with a handle on one side.

    Learn more about the history of this unique item here, and view the entry from our collection here

     

    December 2023:  Ice skating, anyone?

    It’s winter, it’s cold, and the local ponds have frozen over. If it’s the 1800’s, the options for ice skates include styles like these:

    In the late Victorian Era,  “people were advised to “not carry a stick, a muff, or anything that will impede the use of your arms while skating [and to] never throw stones onto the surface of a sheet of ice on which you are anyone else can possibly wish to skate.” Read more about the rules of skating, including the use of skating sleds by new skaters, click here.  This is just one of the many items in the Avon Historical Society’s collection. 

     

    November 2023:  Coffee Grinder

    It’s an everyday activity that crosses time: preparing a cup of coffee.  This everyday object was donated by Miss Susie Wilcox, and was presumably owned by the Wilcox Family.  It’s painted white (not original), and says “Golden Rule Blend Coffee, the Finest Blend in the World” Citizen’s Whole. Co., Columbus, Ohio, on the front.  One can smell the beans and hear the crunch of the grinder, and imagine what the family is discussing as they enjoy their first cup of the day. View the listing here.

     

    July 2023: 1901 Signature Pillow

    1901 Signature Pillow

    We’ve been busy entering items from the Avon Historical Society’s collection into CT Collections, the new online catalog system that they’ve joined.  ConnecticutCollections (CTCo) is a project of the Connecticut League of History Organizations (CLHO). A customization of CollectiveAccess software, CTCo provides heritage and arts organizations of any size with a tool to help them to both privately manage and publicly share their museum and archival collections. Learn more here

    One of the treasures in the Avon Historical Society’s collection is this pillow dated March 4, 1901.

    This pillow contains over 50 signatures, from names we all recognize: Bishop, Case, Chidsey, Ellsworth, Miller, North, and Woodford.  Over a dozen of the names are male; the rest are female.  Each person signed their name; then it was embroidered. Bits of personality show through: bold loops, dramatic capital letters, and clusters of family members who autographed together.

    What was the event? Was it a wedding, a birth, or an anniversary? Was someone moving, and this was a keepsake to remember Avon? We’re curious about the stories this pillow has to tell.

    Multiple pictures are of the pillow are available here.

     

    April, 2023: Guy Thomson’s (1791-1845) Recipe Book

    Hand written, with few measurements and no baking times (or temperatures), this collection of recipes also includes home remedies, making it snapshot of home economics in the 1800s.  The recipe for “Measles, to draw out” says to scrape the husk from the peach tree. Simmer it in cider. To be given hot or can be taken… and then the entry just ends.

    The remedy for asthma is to “put salt into a bottle of brandy as much as can be dissolved. Use from the bottle for an adult; one tablespoonful with two spoonfuls of boiling water three times a day.” There are no instructions for children!

    There’s a recipe for rusk, which none of us had ever heard of.  Rusk is a hard, dry biscuit or twice-baked bread (think of biscotti, croutons, or melba toast).

    There are at least eight entries involving lemon or citron. Citron is a large fragrant citrus fruit that resembles a “huge, rough lemon”. There are a dozen or so entries for cake, including an eggless one, which sounds appealing given our 2023 egg prices…

    If anyone wants to attempt these recipes, the reference librarians will be happy to taste test them! View the entire recipe book here.

    Let us know if you decide to knit the cape, as well….

    The Avon Library has scans of this item; the original is retained by the donor. Ephemera found in the recipe book was also scanned, and appears after the actual notebook pages. (#2022-016)

    The table to contents/headings of Guy Thomson’s recipes and entries:

    Loaf cake, Lady cake, Sponge cake, Coffee cake, Rusk, Poor man’s cake, Orange cake, Family [?] cake, Silver cake, Lemon Tart, Cream Pie, Cream Lemon Pie, Orange Pie, Cream Cake, Mrs. Stove’s Layer Cake, Sweet pickles, Lemon tarts, Eggless cake, Taffy, Butter Scotch [sic], Plain rice pudding, Graham Bread, Pop Corn Balls [sic], Remedy for Asthma, White mixture, Measles—to bring them out, Washing fluid, Liquid ammonia, H [?] soup, Dyes: yellow, Watermelon pickle, Citron, Insect pickle, Scalloped oysters, Citron preserves, Frosting for cake, Salad dressing, Corn patties, Biscuits, Sweet apple pickle, Crab apple pickle, Citron preserves, Citron sweet pickles, Grape [?], Polished furniture, Blue on cotton, Green on cotton, Red on cotton, [to color] crimson, Sore throat, Cramp in legs, Feet-ache, Delicate cake, Royal Baking Powder insert, Recipes from Egg-o-Gene, Duryeas’ improved corn starch recipes, Cape (yarn), Tapioca, [?] dumplings, Lemon Custard Pie, Fleishman’s selected recipes brochure

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    February, 2023:  On Saturday, February 18, 2023, the Avon Historical Society and Avon Congregation Church showcased the recent donation of a quilt from the Woodford family. What started as a showcase for one textile became a “Quilt Reunion”, as shown in the pictures below.  We’re excited to showcase the textile work of women in Avon during the mid 1800’s. Full details/history on the quilt from Sophia, including all of the names of the women who worked on it, are available here. 

    This quilt was a gift to Sophia Woodford, and has been donated to the Avon Historical Society by descendants of the Woodford family.

    Pictured left to right: Peter Morgan, Eleanor Morgan, Chris Kraus, Mary Ann Antoniazzi, Martha Petrovick, Dave Petrovick, during the “Quilt Reunion”.

    This quilt was a gift to Adaline Woodford; notice the star in the center:

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Adaline also quilted this pink and orange quilt:

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Sophia created this quilt out of dress fabrics; the back says, “To Ellen Bill from Aunt Sophia 1897”

    Visitors used magnifying glasses to view the signatures within each quilt block:

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After an audience of 85 had viewed the quilts, they were carefully repackaged by Terri Wilson, Avon Historical Society President, for storage:

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    January, 2023: Using our new overhead scanner, we scanned a delicate sketchbook from the 1800’s that belonged to Carrie Woodford.  Her name appears inside the front cover, C.A. Woodford.  She is the daughter of CR and Harriet Woodford, and lived from 1857-1921. Carrie is the youngest of six children, and according to Janet Carville, one of our favorite Avon residents, she “was the “housekeeper”, as the others had either died or gone on with their professions. She was a brilliant artist, but never sold her paintings as far as Janet knows. 

    Peruse Carrie Woodford’s sketchbook by clicking here

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    Avon Library receives a Save America’s Treasures Grant, in the amount of $50,016

    Left to right: Michael Howser and Greg Colatti, CT Digital Archive; Rob Berman, Avon Library Board member; Lisa Berman, Friends of the Avon Library President; Donna Gianini, Avon Library Board member; Joan Resikin, Vice President, Friends of the Avon Library; Tina Panik, Reference & Adult Services Manager, Avon Library; Heddy Panik, Avon Historical Society Board member and history room volunteer; CT U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal; Glenn Grube, Avon Library Director; State Representative Eleni Kavros DeGraw; Terri Wilson, Avon Historical Society President; Nora Howard, Town Historian; Brandon Robertson, Avon Town Manager; Barbara Ausiello, Avon Town Council.

    Connecticut U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal and Connecticut State Representative Eleni Kavros DeGraw visited the Avon Free Public Library today (10/17/22) to congratulate them for their 2022 Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Save America’s Treasures Grant. This grant, in the amount of $50,016, will cover a two year project, beginning in November 2022.  This award is part of $24.25 million in Save America’s Treasures grants to fund 80 projects in 32 states and the District of Columbia.  Save America’s Treasures, funded through the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF), provided $356 million to more than 1,326 projects between 1999 and 2020. Requiring a dollar-for-dollar private match, these grants have leveraged more than $500 million in private investment and contributed more than 16,000 jobs to local and state economies. 

    The Avon Free Public Library will use this federal grant to preserve and digitize objects relevant to the agrarian history of Avon. Their existing collection consists of 298 linear feet of historical material and includes cataloged books, as well a map cabinet with over 276 geographic maps. Nearly 20,000 items have been digitized for the CT Digital Archive .  This two year project will focus on digitizing collections of the Avon HIstorical Society from the National Register’s  Pine Grove Historic District consisting of four 19th-century farmsteads, a late 18th century house, and a restored Gothic Revival schoolhouse, and the separate National Register’s Avon Congregational Church, designed by local architect David Hoadley. 

    This agrarian grouping is representative of Avon, Connecticut’s history, as reflected in the artifacts held within the archives, which contain ledgers, tools, clothing, household items, and photos from the Thompson and Woodford families who settled this area. The Woodford farm was established in 1666 and is one of the oldest farms still operating in Connecticut. Other names associated with Avon’s dairy, poultry, and tobacco farms were Alsop, Buckland, Colton, Delbon, Distin, Gold, Silver, Stone, Strong, Thompson, Watson, Westerman, and Viti.  

    Farms, mills, blacksmith shops, taverns and dry goods stores began to punctuate Avon’s landscape during the mid 19th century. In the heart of this historic district is the Pine Grove Schoolhouse, built in 1865, which remained in use until 1949. The students and families from West Avon’s Pine Grove area comprise the majority of this project. Their photos, ledgers, journals, land deeds, books, household items, tools, and ephemera showcase the connections between residents and detail daily life during this era. 

     “The goal of this project is to connect all of the artifacts within our collection digitally, so that patrons and researchers can experience 24/7 access to Avon’s complete story as they explore life in the 19th century,” said Tina Panik, Project Director. 

    The federal grant will expand the organization’s capacity by hiring an archivist to help assess, organize, store and digitize approximately 1,000 items from the Avon Historical Society’s collection, integrating access to materials within both the library and historical society’s collections.  

    “These 1,000 items need professional archival assessment, storage, conservation, and digitization. These artifacts are temporarily housed in a climate controlled storage facility, as their home location, Schoolhouse #3, is in the process of a renovation, making this the perfect time to complete the work,” said Terri Wilson, Avon Historical Society President. 

    Glenn Grube, Avon Library Director and Grant Administrator added, “The same dozen or so names populate our archives throughout the 1800-1900s, framing Avon as a New England town with a deeply interconnected social history.  Previously neglected from our archive projects, this segment of Avon’s history that incorporates the Pine Grove Historical District and Avon Congregational Church deserves our attention, preservation, and digitization focus.” 

    Those interested in loaning items for scanning or donating items from the agrarian history of Avon to enhance the collections of the Avon Free Public Library or the Avon Historical Society can email historyroom@avonctlibrary.info for further instruction. 

    The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)  is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov 

  • Sundays at Three: 2024 Friends Music Series Lineup

    Sundays at Three is sponsored by the Friends of the Avon Library. Concerts are held in the Avon Library’s Community Room. Free tickets at the doors starting at 2:15 pm. Doors open at 2:30. The hour-long programs start at 3:00 pm. 

    January 14, 2024: Peter Greenfogel Jazz Group

    Tenor saxophonist, Peter Greenfogel, is from the Greater Hartford area and his group performs locally throughout Connecticut, New York and New England.

    January 28, 2024: Narragansett Bay Chorus

    The Naragansett Bay Chorus performs popular music in the 4-part a cappella style known as “Barbershop.”

    February 11, 2024: Love Is in The Air

    Four professional singers from the Opera Theater of Connecticut will perform favorite areas, duets based on Opera Love Songs from Famous Arias

    February 25, 2024: Dayblazer with Sean McDaniel & Instrumentalists

    Dayblazer is a three-piece cover band that specializes in performing the smooth radio hits of the 1970s and 1980s

    March 10, 2024: Scoil Rince Luimni Irish Dance Academy

    SRL was opened in July 1914 by Courtney Jay TCRG, an Irish dancer since age 6 and two-time world medalist with the objective of passing on this artistic sport and cultural heritage to the next generation.

    March 24, 2024: Mariachi Mexico Antiguo

    Mariachi Mexico Antiguo, established in 1210, symbolizes extraordinary musicianship and renewed focus on the tradition of Mariachi.

    Additional Concert: Saturday, February 3, 2024, 3:00pm: A Classical Concert In Honor of Anil Mody. This classical concert will feature piano compositions from classical composers such as Beethoven, Bach, Chopin and Mozart, selections to be determined.  Corbin Beisner, concert pianist, will be presenting a piano classical concert concentrating on piano works by favorite classical composers. Corbin Beisner has been active as a classical pianist throughout the United States and Europe since his solo recital debut in 2005. He is a graduate of the Hartt School of Music in CT (BMus) and the Franz List Academy of Music in Budapest, Hungary (M.M.)

  • Unearthing History: 2023 Virtual Lecture Series

    Unearthing History: The discovery of a 12,500 year old Paleo-Indian site along the Farmington River in Avon. Join us for a virtual series of lectures, sponsored by a grant from the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook Wild and Scenic Committee that will cover the many aspects of archaeology, with a focus on the Brian D. Jones Paleo-Indian discovery in Avon, Connecticut. All events begin at 7:00pm EST on Zoom.

    This 2023 VIRTUAL HISTORY SERIES is sponsored by Avon Historical Society, Avon Free Public Library and Avon Senior Center, in partnership with the Avon Land Trust, Farmington River Watershed Association, and the Institute of American Indian Studies in Washington, CT.

    Times are EST: Eastern Standard Time.  Events are free to attend. Webinars will be recorded; links appear at the end of this post and are available on the Avon Library’s YouTube Channel.

    View the full 2023 series flyer here

    Completed 2023 webinars:

    March 23The LIDAR Revolution in Earth Surface Mapping, presented by Will Ouimet, Assoc. Professor, Departments of Geosciences and Geography, Univ. of Connecticut.  Prof. Ouimet participated in the discovery of the Brian D. Jones (BDJ) site and has since produced LIDAR images of the dig site and extending out farther to show where the potential whole site is located. He also will explain the techniques used by LIDAR for locating historic human settlements and land use patterns. LIDAR = Light Detection and Ranging using lasers for 3D scanning. View the recording here  Two handouts are available: CT LiDAR and Geology ArcGIS Online Web Viewer Instructions

    CT LIDAR Point Clouds in ArcGIS – WebApp Instructions

    April 20 Hunting Techniques of the Paleoindian, presented by Richard Boisvert, retired New Hampshire state archeologist, who is very familiar with the discovery and analysis of the BDJ site and other Paleoindian sites in northern New England. View the recording here. 

    May 11The Big Importance of Small Things:  Microscopic and Blood Residue Analysis of Ancient Stone Tools, presented by Heather M. Rockwell, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Cultural and Historic Preservation, Noreen Stonor Drexel Cultural and Historic Preservation Program, Salve Regina University. This presentation will examine the process and limitations of blood residue and use-wear analysis, and how they have contributed to our understanding of ancient people. View the recording here. 

    September 21 –– Paleoindian Sites, Site Patterning and Travel Corridors along the Southern Arm of the Champlain Sea, presented by Jess Robinson, Vermont State Archaeologist, Vermont Archaeology Heritage Center, Barre, VT. The Champlain Sea was an inland arm of the Atlantic Ocean that existed in portions of the St. Lawrence valley, Ontario lowlands, and Champlain Valley from approximately 13,000 – 9,500 years ago. Robinson will first summarize the emergence, tenure, and important aspects of this waterbody. Thereafter, he will discuss the locations of documented Champlain Valley Paleoindian sites relative to the former margins of the Champlain Sea. Finally, he will explore some of the implications of the site patterning for subsistence, settlement, and travel and how the Champlain Sea may have facilitated it. View the recording here

    October 12 – Update on the Brian D. Jones site in Avon, CT since discovery in 2019 presented by Eric Heffter, Senior Prehistoric Archaeologist, Archaeological and Historical Services, Storrs, CT.  October is Archaeology Month in Connecticut, so his presentation will be 90 minutes with time after for Q&A. View the recording here.

    Questions? Email Terri Wilson, President Avon Historical Society, president@avonhistoricalsociety.org

  • Online test preparation resources from Avon Library

    Avon Library is excited to announce a new online test preparation resource available with your Avon Library card.  Mometrix e-Library has the largest catalog of any test preparation publisher, now offering over 3,500 products covering over 1,500 different standardized exams.  With your Avon Library card, you can access a curated collection of 50 different online test preparation resources for college admissions and placement, graduate and professional schools, occupational licenses, and career advancement.

    Test prep tips, digital flashcards, and sample exams area available for a variety of standardized tests including the ACT, AP, and SAT college entrance exams, the GRE, LSAT, and MCAT graduate school exams, and various professional exams for careers in fields such as public safety, social work, teaching, and transportation.  Mometrix e-Library also has employment resources including interview and resume tips.  Your Avon Library barcode from your library card is required to login to Mometrix e-Library from outside of Avon Library’s network.

    See all of Avon Library’s online job and career resources by clicking here, or go to the Research tab of our website to browse all of our online databases and learning platforms.

     

     

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